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The True Believer



Pub. Date:
Harper Perennial Modern Classics
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  • The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements
    The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements


A stevedore on the San Francisco docks in the 1940s, Eric Hoffer wrote philosophical treatises in his spare time while living in the railroad yards. The True Believer -- the first and most famous of his books -- was made into a bestseller when President Eisenhower cited it during one of the earliest television press conferences.Completely relevant and essential for understanding the world today, The True Believer is a visionary, highly provocative look into the mind of the fanatic and a penetrating study of how an individual becomes one.

Author Biography

Eric Hoffer (1902-1983) was self-educated. He worked in restaurants, as a migrant field-worker, and as a gold prospector. After Pearl Harbor, he worked as a longshoreman in San Francisco for twenty-five years. The author of more than ten books, including The Passionate State of Mind. The Ordeal of Change, and The Temper of Our Time, Eric Hoffer was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1983

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xi
The Appeal of Mass Movements
The Desire for Changep. 3
The Desire for Substitutesp. 12
The Interchangeability of Mass Movementsp. 16
The Potential Converts
The Role of the Undesirables in Human Affairsp. 24
The Poorp. 26
The New Poorp. 26
The Abjectly Poorp. 27
The Free Poorp. 31
The Creative Poorp. 34
The Unified Poorp. 34
Misfitsp. 46
The Inordinately Selfishp. 48
The Ambitious Facing Unlimited Opportunitiesp. 49
Minoritiesp. 50
The Boredp. 51
The Sinnersp. 53
United Action and Self-sacrifice
Prefacep. 58
Factors Promoting Self-sacrificep. 62
Identification with a Collective Wholep. 62
Make-believep. 66
Deprecation of the Presentp. 68
"Things Which Are Not"p. 76
Doctrinep. 79
Fanaticismp. 83
Mass Movements and Armiesp. 88
Unifying Agentsp. 91
Hatredp. 91
Imitationp. 101
Persuasion and Coercionp. 105
Leadershipp. 111
Actionp. 120
Suspicionp. 124
The Effects of Unificationp. 126
Beginning and End
Men of Wordsp. 130
The Fanaticsp. 143
The Practical Men of Actionp. 147
Good and Bad Mass Movementsp. 153
The Unattractiveness and Sterility of the Active Phasep. 153
Some Factors Which Determine the Length of the Active Phasep. 157
Useful Mass Movementsp. 162
Notesp. 169
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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